It’s an unconventional move, maybe even the first of its kind: George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer has set up a Twitter account, Facebook account and blog in his client’s name.
High-profile court cases like Zimmerman’s have often come hand-in-hand with tight-lipped lawyers, refusing to say more than the typical “my client asserts his innocence” for the cameras outside the courtroom. But this one’s different.
From day one, Twitter has been a big part of the media storm surrounding Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin in late February. The Twitter-verse erupted in outrage after news of the shooting reached national proportions, with many users calling for justice and expressing their loathing for Zimmerman.
Blogs and Facebook were also vocal following the shooting, and, like Twitter, remain a significant forum for creating public perception in the case.
That’s likely why Zimmerman’s lawyers have decided to face the social media outcry head on.
Tweeting from @GZlegalCase, Zimmerman’s lawyers are trying to take control of the public conversation surrounding their client. The Twitter account is being used to highlight blog posts written at http://gzlegalcase.com, to take on impostor accounts, and to listen to the public sentiment toward Zimmerman.
In their first blog post outlining seven ways that they plan to use social media in Zimmerman’s defense, the lawyers explained that:
“…we contend that social media in this day and age cannot be ignored. It is now a critical part of presidential politics, it has been part of revolutions in the Middle East, and it is going to be an unavoidable part of high-profile legal cases, just as traditional media has been and continues to be. We feel it would be irresponsible to ignore the robust online conversation, and we feel equally as strong about establishing a professional, responsible, and ethical approach to new media.”
They go on to say that Zimmerman himself has shut down all of his social profiles, as it is not in his best interest to speak publicly about the trial. However, the lawyers will be quite active on Twitter, Facebook and their blog, using these platforms to attempt to control the public discourse surrounding their client and his court appearances.